Bryce Lafrenz Durant football

Durant quarterback Bryce Lafrenz (10) fires a screen pass to receiver Mason Compton (5) during the first quarter of last week's game against Wilton. The Beavers defeated the Wildcats 20-7. 

Dave Chesling, Muscatine Journal

Columbus Community (1-1) at Wilton (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Last week: Wilton's defense continued to impress in a 20-7 victory against Durant, forcing five turnovers. Columbus had a bye week. 

Key stat: Columbus quarterback Abel Mena has 281 yards rushing and no interceptions through two games. 

What to watch: The Wildcats are averaging 201 rushing yards per game, but face a tough Beaver defense that has allowed 21 total points on the season, and has only given up 92 yards through the air while forcing six turnovers. Wilton quarterback Jerome Mays presents plenty of mobility on offense as well, rushing for 229 yards and three touchdowns. 

Columbus coach Scott Symmonds: "We come into this week healthy after a bye week where we worked on offensive timing and defensive fundamentals. Wilton presents many challenges as they are strong up front, have talent at the skill positions, and are led by a quarterback who can hurt any opponent with his feet and his arm. Offensively, we look to mix things up with a better balance of ball distribution, run, and passing plays. Senior Abel Mena is making great progress in his first year under center, and his supporting cast, while young, is picking things up quickly. This is a homecoming for me, so I hope to bring a ball club that leaves a lasting impression on Wilton's field this Friday." 

Wilton coach Ryan Hetzler: "Columbus has a versatile QB who will be tough to stop. We need to be a more disciplined team this week and cut down on penalties and turnovers."

Durant (1-1) at Maquoketa Valley (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Last week: Turnovers derailed Durant in a 20-7 loss last Friday against Wilton as it threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles. Maquoketa Valley easily defeated Starmont 60-22. 

Key stat: Durant junior Tristan Hughes leads a strong Wildcat rushing attack with 208 yards and two touchdowns. 

What to watch: Durant will look to clean up the mistakes from last week's game against Wilton. The team's defense has impressed early on, allowing 13 points per game, but now is tasked with a Maquoketa Valley team that has put up 80 points through its first two games. 

Durant coach Joel Diederichs: "It's the first game of districts, so it's going to be a good atmosphere in that way. They had some really nice wins, so we have to prepare ourselves. We're coming off a tough game against Wilton, and we need to rebound and get after it. ... We just got to clean up a few mistakes here and there, but overall I really appreciate all the effort the kids have (given)."

Wapello (1-1) at Iowa City Regina (0-2)

Time: 7 p.m. 

Last week: After a 25-0 season-opening loss at New London, Wapello bounced back with a 42-0 win last Friday against Winfield-Mount Union. Regina lost at Solon 33-0. 

Key stat: Wapello quarterback Logan Belzer is coming off a 287-yard and six touchdown passing performance. 

What to watch: Records can certainly be deceiving as Iowa City Regina heads into this game winless, yet still owns the No. 4 ranking in Class 1A. Its two losses were a 23-6 defeat to Cedar Rapids Xavier, who is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, and a 33-0 defeat at Solon, who is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. The good news for the Indians is that Belzer is building a strong rapport with a different cast of weapons this season, completing touchdown passes to three different receivers last week.

Van Buren (1-1) at Louisa-Muscatine (0-2)

Time: 7 p.m. 

Last Week: Louisa-Muscatine was torched for 282 rushing yards in a 26-6 loss at Tipton last Friday. Van Buren lost 45-12 at home against New London. 

Key stat: Louisa-Muscatine has struggled offensively early on this season, gaining just 397 yards of total offense while scoring nine points per game.

What to watch: The Falcons will be fired up playing their homecoming game. They face a Van Buren team that appears vastly improved from the one that was outscored 96-6 and averaging 69.5 yards per game heading into last year's game between the two teams. This year, Van Buren owns a .500 record and is averaging 295 yards per game. 

Louisa-Muscatine coach Matt Shoultz: "As a young team, we're looking to get more consistency on both sides of the ball. We need to cut out the mistakes on offense and quit giving up the big play on defense. Last week I saw some pretty good improvement. We just need to cut out the negative plays, and I think we should be fine."

Mid-Prairie (1-1) at West Liberty (1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Last week: The Comets bounced back from a 35-20 loss to West Branch in Week 1 with a 62-7 win against Highland last Friday. Mid-Prairie lost 55-7 to Washington. 

Key stat: West Liberty is averaging 341 rushing yards per game, with senior Joe Kelley accounting for 334 through two games at 9.5 yards per carry. 

What to watch: The Comets' offense has impressed early on this year, averaging 468 yards and 41 points per game. They cleaned up the four turnovers they committed in Week 1 and didn't lose the ball once against Highland. Mid-Prairie is averaging nearly 300 yards of offense per game, but has surrendered 33.5 points per game. 

West Liberty coach Jason Iske: "It's the first district game, we're definitely ready for that. Mid-Prairie's a tough opponent, they've always had a good team, good program, so we're definitely preparing for a good matchup. Our goal going into Highland actually was to be perfect. We kind of felt like what hurt us the most against West Branch was just some of our imperfections and just mistakes in general, whether it be penalties or turnovers, missed blocking assignments or running wrong routes. We didn't achieve that, but we got a little bit closer, so we were pretty pleased with what we were doing." 

Twitter: @EvanRRiggs

-- Kyle Heim


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